Across the country, there are reports of suspicious robo-calls where the called party answers their phone to a recorded message that asks some variation of, “Can you hear me now?” Can you hear me ok?”
There have even been reports of individuals answering to the sound of laughter and/or other background noise before the recording starts—a possible ploy to make the call appear more legitimate.
Here is the concern—If you answer “yes,” the system will record your response and later use it as confirmation that you gave verbal agreement to their service. As a result, you could ultimately be hit with unexpected and unauthorized charges.
According to the Better Business Bureau, more than half of the agency’s scam complaints in recent days were related to this scam. The agency also warns that the scam is quite sophisticated in that this uses a form of intelligent voice recognition to engage the unsuspecting person who answers the phone.
There are several ways to defend against this scam. The first and most obvious is to just hang up. Official also recommend reporting the calling number to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/submit-consumer-complaint-ftc, this will help the agency track the issue. According to the agency, “Complaints from consumers help us detect patterns of fraud and abuse.”
There are also apps available for smart phones including NoMoRobo and Privacy Star. NoMoRobo is also available for VoIP users. Consumers can also contact their telephone service provider and request to be added to the ‘Do not call’ list.
Consumer advocates are also calling on elected representatives to demand that phone companies consider the implementation of robo-filtering technology.
It is important to note that despite a plethora of media reports regarding the robo-calls that have occurred, to date there are no confirmed reports of anyone who has actually been scammed out of money as a result of this scam.